Written by Scott Miller
The people who live at Garden Spot Village continue to experience new and interesting opportunities, even during the stay-at-home order. The Garden Spot mission states: “We will enrich the lives of older adults as an expression of Christ’s love,” and regardless of the situation team members are always exploring new ways to offer residents to enrich their lives.
RLPS Architects, a Lancaster-based architectural and design firm, helped Garden Spot with the remodel of the Village Square and the Harvest Table restaurant several years ago. During a conference, when cardboard virtual reality (VR) goggles first emerged, RLPS demonstrated a virtual reality application they had prepared for their presentation regarding the potential of VR in architectural and building design.
VR has come a long way since then and so has the price of the equipment and the software that drives VR experiences. However, some pretty cool cardboard VR experiences were developed early on, and they are still available online for free.
Remembering the presentation, we got in touch with Nicole Seuffert, Director of Client Services at RLPS to see if RLPS might still have some of the goggles and if they would make them available for our residents during the stay-at-home order.
“We are pleased Garden Spot thought of RLPS and reached out to us,” Nicole commented. “We had a dozen RLPS VR goggles that were wrapped and still in a box. We were more than happy to come alongside Garden Spot Village in this way and donate the goggles. We hope the residents find the VR experiences meaningful now and in the future.”
While it has been too overwhelming for public libraries to implement proper safety protocols during the pandemic, the Garden Spot Village library volunteers have found a way to safely keep the library open. A dedicated group of volunteers, some who are retired librarians, have helped to keep this important resource available. Residents check out and return books without personal contact. Books are held, untouched, until they are safe to be checked out again. With a check-in, return and disinfecting process already established, it made sense to use the same process for the RLPS goggles, making the VR experiences generally available.
Jen Miller, Life Enrichment assistant, got to work researching VR experiences and created step-by-step instructions detailing how to use the goggles, access and participate in the VR experiences. Jen and Anne Knepley, resident volunteer who oversees the library, developed a script for a video to simplify the instructions even further. The Creative Team captured and edited the video and added it to the other 40 plus videos specifically created as a result of the stay-at-home order. Residents access the videos on either the internal CATIE communication system or the MyGSV resident website.
“One of the great things about living at Garden Spot Village during the COVID-19 pandemic is that, while life is different because we are social distancing and the normal events and activities are on hold, life hasn’t come to a full stop,” says Anne Knepley. “The library at GSV is one activity still open to us. Eight sets of Virtual Reality Glasses were donated to the library for use by our residents. They are something very new and different, exciting and fun to use. I’m in a video about Virtual Reality Glasses which is made available to all residents. This is something I’d never be doing if I didn’t live here. Living at this wonderful retirement community at Garden Spot Village is the best place for right now.”